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Greetings from the sports desk

Hi, folks. I’m your new sports editor.

It’s an unprecedentedly crazy time in the sports world with games inside bubbles, games outside with no fans and no games at all. My goal is to bring you coverage of sports and athletes in Beaufort County that you can’t read anywhere else. Or if you do find it elsewhere, my goal will to make it better here.

My wife, Sarah, and stepson, Tyler, moved to Washington from Raleigh a little over a year ago, not to retire, but because we were tired — tired of traffic, higher prices and the other hassles that go along with city life. Raleigh was fine while we were there, but we haven’t missed it for more than five minutes since we left.

We’ve settled into our historic home not far from the Pamlico River and are enjoying the slower pace, friendlier people and small-town atmosphere very much. There’s nothing like a walk along the waterfront boardwalk while the sunrise reflects off the water or an evening stroll to watch the sun set.

I bring a unique skillset to the Washington Daily News. I grew up in Columbia, Missouri, and stayed home to graduate from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, with a concentration in broadcasting.

I was the sports director for my hometown radio station while I was still in college, then moved to a station in central Missouri, then to another one in Gaffney, South Carolina. I did my first baseball play-by-play for Gaylord Perry’s Limestone College team, and I knew then that baseball was the sport I wanted to specialize in.

I started broadcasting minor league games in 1990 in Vero Beach, Florida, moved on to Birmingham and Sarasota, then landed the Durham Bulls broadcast gig in 1994, which brought my family to North Carolina.

I added play-by-play for the Duke women’s basketball team to keep me busy in the winter. I thoroughly enjoyed both jobs, but the travel and odd hours finally got to me in 2016 when I stepped away from the microphone.

I always found time to write while doing the broadcasts — freelancing for newspapers, writing articles for magazines to keep my hand in it just in case.

My other interest is coaching. Being around top-level baseball and basketball instructors gave me insight into the sport that I knew I would pass along at some point. After coaching my son’s fall rec teams, I got a chance to coach middle-school baseball at St. David’s School in Raleigh, where I later moved into the athletic department as a writer for their website, photographer, site administrator and middle school girls’ basketball coach.

When it was time to leave Raleigh, I packed those skills and put my web writing to use covering East Carolina University pre-season football practice for their website. I then pivoted and spent last winter and spring as the varsity girls’ assistant basketball coach and head JV baseball coach at Bear Grass Charter School.

Of course, COVID-19 ended the baseball season early, and it was a long summer.

So here I am. I have always enjoyed covering high school sports, because it is the purest level out there. Kids play for the love of the game and coaches coach because they want to help their players become solid citizens and make the world a better place when they graduate.

I have great respect for high school coaches because the vast majority are in it for the right reasons. I also think my coaching background helps me understand what they do on a daily basis, therefore bringing some depth and perspective to our coverage.

I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to providing our readers with interesting, informative and accurate stories about current and former players and anything else sports and recreation-related in Beaufort County.

I am interested in any story ideas you might have. Please email me at steve.barnes@thewashingtondailynews.com.